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The Wissahickon Creek Watershed is one of five major watersheds in the Philadelphia metro region. The main objective of the work in this paper was to determine and compare the energy and environmental impacts of placing housing in the Watershed according to profitability and environmental sustainability criteria, respectively, in the context of increasing urbanization. Future population and employment for the Watershed have been projected by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Housing requirements for the projected populations in each municipality were computed, and their location was influenced by the local zoning ordinances. Suitability analysis using ArcGIS 10.6 generated areas for development based alternatively on profitability and local sustainability. CommunityViz 5.2 Scenario 360 software was used to place buildings within the appropriately-zoned areas. Using Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET1 2018) software and water quality monitoring information from the Philadelphia Water Department, impacts were directly estimated. The impacts were related to effects on ecosystem functioning, ecosystem goods and services, and broad value estimated for the latter. The effects were used to indicate what might be appropriate policies to reduce the negative environmental consequences of residential development in the watershed. Unexpectedly, the environmental impacts of the profitable and sustainable scenarios were not very different. This suggests that profitability and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.